Rather than building new, DPR chose to renovate a 20,000-sq.-ft. space, which had been vacant for more than seven years. The project was built with four key goals in mind: Create an Office of the Future that invigorates our people; to be environmentally responsible in the way we do business by pursuing Net Zero Energy, LEED certification and the WELL Building standard; to make smart, data-driven decisions; and to create a living laboratory that can showcase technologies, products and systems.

Office of the Future

Flexibility: A key element of an "office of the Future" is creating various work spaces that can be utilized in different ways and allow employees to choose the best space for them to be productive. DPR’s office incorporates a wide variety of spaces, ranging from private phone rooms and quite spaces, to small, medium and large conference rooms. Groups can select the right meeting room for their purpose.

The office also utilizes a variety of spaces for gathering. The team conducted a research study along with the design firm, SmithGroupJJR and Herman Miller's Living Office team, to understand how people work, what was working and what was not working in the old space, and what improvements could be made to enhance overall efficiency and happiness. The study confirmed what was suspected and seen as a growing trend in the market – people want flexibility. Providing an environment with a coffee-shop feel and lounge areas where employees can eat their lunch, catch a conference call, or play a quick game of shuffleboard, will increase productivity and accommodate a diverse workforce with varying needs.

Employee Health: A critical element of a creating 21st century work environment is embracing the shift in the market towards employee health and well-being. This office sets a new benchmark for creating a healthy environment that improves employee health and wellness. Utilizing materials throughout the space that minimize volatile organic compounds in the indoor air, providing a large portion of fresh outdoor air, combined with a wellness room, workout room, our proximity to the regionally famous W&OD trail, and providing healthy snacks will help us reach this goal. Bikes are also provided for daily use so employees can run errands or grab lunch without having to take their cars.

Adjacent to the kitchen, the office offers access to the outdoors for employees to take a break and get some fresh air, or let the fresh air in. We have installed a LED stoplight which is programmed to let employees know if the outside weather conditions are acceptable to keep the door open.

Open Office Design: The open office concept has been a critical part of DPR's culture since the early days of the company. The increased communication and collaboration is maximized by a design concept of flexibility, healthy work habits with standing desks and lots of exposure to outside views.

Technology: Incorporating smart technology, not just expensive or cutting-edge technology, is part of the 21st century workplace. In each of the meeting spaces available to employees, DPR is utilizing new technology that helps employees work more efficiently. Utilizing simple technologies like Evoko conference room scheduling, Click Shares (a wireless technology to connect your computer to the screen in the space) and a Sonos Wireless AV system, teams are able to spend more time communicating with each other and less time on IT and AV support.

These aspects helped the building meet the WELL Certified™ Gold standards.

Creating a Living Laboratory

The living laboratory helps to educate others, while also continuing to monitor progress against initial environmental goals.

Project Dashboard: The project uses a dashboard that provides real-time information related to energy and water consumption, as well as energy produced by the photovoltaic array. DPR can see what is working and what needs tweaking, in real time, in pursuit of Net Zero Energy Certification.

Showcasing Products: The space utilizes a variety of new and modern products throughout to educate clients and design teams on what is possible in an office of this scale. For example, the team installed four different finished concrete options to show and educate owners and architects on the options available. It allows them to see what the different finished products costs look like and how they hold up to normal office wear and tear. Other technologies, such as Radiant Sails, are placed in key, visible spaces so visitors can compare to more traditional systems.

Mechanical Room: As a technical builder, providing a glass window into the mechanical room provides an opportunity to educate visitors and staff about the functionality of the space and its complex MEP systems. In addition, the team color coded the piping so visitors can easily decipher what they are looking at.

Learn more about the office and its sustainability in the extended case study.

Green Features

DPR's Reston office is pushing the envelope when it comes to sustainability. Certified as LEED-CI v4.0 Platinum and designed to be Net Zero energy, the space incorporates a variety of sustainable elements, including:

Mechanical Systems: Getting to Net Zero starts by reducing energy loads as much as possible. The space utilizes a highly-efficient Heat Recovery Chiller, Cooling Tower, and dedicated outdoor air system with traditional Fan Powered Terminal Units which provide efficiency through a four-pipe heating and cooling system and allows the space to be simultaneously heated and cooled in various areas of the office. The system is focused on maintaining thermal comfort while not overheating or cooling any individual space. In a few select rooms Radiant Sails, a system which transforms a centuries old technology of radiant heating and cooling into a modern architectural element in extremely energy efficient way, were used to provide thermal comfort to occupants.

Lighting: The entire 20,000-sq.-ft. area is illuminated by 24 Solatubes® that allow a tremendous amount of natural daylight in the center of the space which, in conjunction with a robust lighting controls system, allows the space to use less energy for lighting throughout the day. With two of the biggest energy users in an office environment being the lights and plug load, these systems are vital to our green goals. The LED lighting system, combined with an automation and sensor system, provides a consistent level of lighting throughout the day, while maximizing energy savings. Most of the outlets in the space will be blue and connected to a phantom load reducing system that will eliminate all loads from devices not being used after 6 P.M. unless the space is occupied.

Photovoltaic System: The photovoltaic system installed on the roof has the biggest impact on reaching Net-Zero Energy. The 141 kW solar array is designed to include 10% more energy than will be required to achieve a Net-Zero Energy certification through the ILFI (International Living Future Institutes) program. The SunPower’s® Helix™ photovoltaic system will be one of the first of its kind on the East Coast, and utilizes a panel that is over 21% efficient (most panels are under 20% efficiency). Additionally, the roof holds a highly efficient solar hot water system that provides hot water for all domestic uses.

Water Efficiency: Although the idea behind doing the right thing has been focused mainly on energy efficiency, DPR partnered with Sloan to provide water efficient fixtures in the restrooms and shower facilities.

Materials: The most notable architectural element throughout the space is the reclaimed wood taken from barns in Connecticut and the eastern shore of Maryland and installed by DPR’s self-perform carpenters. This sustainable finish, used in the entryway of the space and above the wine bar, connects the office with the history of the Mid-Atlantic region. In addition, many finished materials in the space are certified as Cradle-to-Cradle including carpet, wall covering, tile, window shades, etc.

Waste Diversion: Another sustainable practice in the office is the waste diversion and recycling program. DPR has indicated certain spots throughout the office where employees can recycle and throw out their trash. Compostable products, such as plates and utensils, with clearly marked compost and recycling bins, are located throughout the space.

BIM Features

Laser Scanning: DPR laser scanned the existing space to get a handle on unforeseen conditions in the building. By doing this, DPR could see an accurate depiction of the interior space. With the model, the team then pulled dimensions from girder to girder at each column line to pre-order the metal joists without hand field measuring them. This saved weeks in shop drawings and allowed the joists to arrive in time for erection.

MEP Coordination: DPR modeled all duct work, piping, plumbing, electrical conduit, light fixtures, etc., and used the model to coordinate the work and perform clash detection.

Energy Modeling: SmithGroupJJR utilized various Energy Modeling software to model day lighting and energy consumption. SunPower®, the supplier of the photovoltaic (PV) array, also used energy modeling software to determine the total PV production.

Virtual Reality: DPR utilized the construction model to allow employees to take virtual tours of the space prior to moving in. The model was optimized for Google Cardboard and given to employees. The virtual walk through also serves as an educational tool for customers and other in the construction industry.


  • AIA Potomac Valley's Excellence in Design Awards (2018)
    AIA Potomic Valley
  • Award of Excellence - Interiors (2017)
    NAIOP Northern Virginia
  • James M. Scott Exceptional Design Awards (2017)
    Fairfax County Design and Construction Awards
  • ENR Mid-Atlantic Best Projects (2017)
    ENR Mid-Atlantic
  • The Premiere Design Awards (2017)
    International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Mid-Atlantic Chapter (MAC)


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